Dipolog City mayor: Abduction of Italian priest ‘an unfortunate incident’
By Dennis C. Baguio

DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte, Oct. 8 (PNA) –government authorities have mobilized its resources as “law enforcement agencies are already pursuing leads and conducting follow-up operations” for the safe recovery of a former Italian priest abducted in this city.

Mayor Evelyn Uy, chair of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), made this announcement Thursday as she described the abduction of former Italian priest, Rolando Del Torchio, as “an unfortunate incident.”

Del Torchio, 56, was seized by seven gunmen around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday from his Pizza house--UrChoice Bistro Café--in Barangay Miputak, this city.

Del Torchio was dragged to a waiting gray van with plate number TMY-490 that sped to the boulevard, also in Barangay Miputak.

The gunmen abandoned the van and transferred Del Torchio to a motorboat and sped to the high seas.

“This is a sad moment for all of us, for just yesterday (Wednesday), a most gruesome crime has been perpetuated deep within the heart of our city--the abduction of Mr. Rolando Del Torchio--an amiable Italian national who has become a Dipolognon by heart. It is an unfortunate incident to happen to a peace-loving resident of Dipolog, and a big blow to our city's efforts to promote peace, progress and prosperity,” Uy said.

She said they have coordinated with law enforcement and other concerned government agencies for the safe release and recovery of Del Torchio.

“The law enforcement agencies are already pursuing leads and conducting follow-up operations. We have already mobilized the resources of government for that purpose,” she added.

Meanwhile, the lady mayor said they were “looking into whatever concerns related to our internal security arrangements” to prevent a repeat of similar incident in this city.

“We have made a lot of headway in our efforts to make Dipolog City safe and secure for our residents and visitors, and we cannot let this single isolated incident bring us down,” Uy said.

She called on the public to be vigilant as the local police continue to do their best in providing security to the residents of this city.

“Let us all be vigilant, as only with the help of our community can we be certain of a truly, safe and protected community,” she added. (PNA)

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